Russia's Roscosmos space agency proposes to build largest rocket ever

Jan. 28, 2014 at 6:00 PM
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MOSCOW, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Russia's Roscosmos federal space agency has announced it would seek government approval to build the world's largest rocket.

The planned launcher would be able to lift 80 tons into low Earth orbit, and could be upgraded to launch as much as 160 tons, which would be the heaviest payload every lifted into space by a single rocket, RIA Novosti reported.

"I think that in the near future, within a month, we will make our suggestions to the Military-Industrial Commission," Roscosmos head Oleg Ostapenko said at an annual space conference in Moscow Tuesday.

The current record holder, NASA's Saturn V rocket used to launch Apollo astronauts on their journey to the moon, had a maximum lift capability of 120 tons.

Roscosmos formed a working group last year to evaluate proposals for a heavy-lift rocket, including the revival of the Energia launcher, the highest payload rocket ever built in the Russia, which was canceled during an economic crisis 20 years ago.

Russia's largest existing rocket, the Proton, can launch payloads of up to 20 tons.

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